Today we decided to venture over to a beautiful touristy island. We knew it would be busy with trip boats because we could see them lined up on the beach. It was only an hour motor sail from our current location. Before leaving, we spent the morning on the beach playing with our snorkels and having lunch on the beach. We aimed to leave by 1pm.
Everything was going like clockwork, back to the boat by 12:30, dingy up, Leora down for her nap, off by 1pm. It was a lovely sunny day, a good breeze helped us along. I enticed Kynan away from his imaginary-boat play downstairs and he sat in my arms watching the water swirl past the boat. I relished the pleasure to fully enjoy one child. There were a few rainy squalls around, but I couldn’t make out if any were heading our way while we were moving.
As we neared the island group, I asked Justin how he felt about anchoring in 10-13m, deeper than we’re used to. I could now see we were in the path of a fairly gnarly squall and guessed we had 30 minutes before it hit, I was very wrong. Kynan was desperate to see the anchor drop and given it was flat water I allowed him to come out on deck and watch me. I put out 35m and planned to drift until it grabbed before putting out more. Justin, back in the cockpit, pointed up wind to a line of whitecaps rapidly approaching. And then things were flapping violently. Kynan! Back to the cockpit! I yelled. I whipped in the swimmers, the shade sail going nuts. Kynan! Downstairs… NOW! I yelled again. Justin and I got the shade sail down as fast as possible (slowly). In the back of our minds is the fact that we’ve not yet dug the anchor in and we’re probably dragging quickly with all this wind. We are in a small space surrounded by rocky islands, adrenalin racing. We pulled up the anchor and fled, tail between our legs, to the relative shelter of a nearby bay in the now driving rain. Lesson learnt.
For the record (and for our parents reading), we were never in danger. We were out of our comfort zone (deep and exposed anchorage, busy with trip boats). We are learning our limits, we will be more cautious next time. By the time we arrived to the bay (Ao Nang), the sun was out. Justin put Snow White on for the kids and we talked through the event.
I’m sure it won’t be the last time we feel out of our depth, but for the most part this first week on our own has gone remarkably well. We’ve had a wonderful time on a quiet beach (Klong Muang). Days are filled with beach play, wandering around to find somewhere to eat, meeting friends and making new ones on the beach. We’ve loved catching up with Jack, Allison and Elijah, friends from Brisbane who’ve also chosen a nomadic life.
It hasn’t been all roses, both kids have thrown their fair share of wobblies, but there have also been some golden moments: Like finding a beach bar with sand toys after a rainy day stuck on the boat, cocktails for adults and sand play for kids. yeah!
Of an evening, Justin and I talk about going here or going there. Oh the deliciousness of decisions. So where to now? We have a week before our Thai visa expires so we need to return slowly to Langkawi, Malaysia and hopefully we’ll meet with others we’ve met down that way. We have three months to decide if boat life is for us. It’s not a resounding YES, just yet. Parenting is challenging and we’ve still to get comfortable with the sails, but there is time.